Dear Nashville 2019 is the first of a series called Letters to the Garden. I believe there is a great need for our world to be reminded Jesus knew our names as he was dying on the cross. He was dying for Nashville before it was Nashville. This skyline was imprinted on his heart in the Garden of Gethsemane. This Love is what kept our King of Kings on the cross of crucifixion, when he could've said one word and had a legion of angels at his side. He came to save us, to die in our place and then rise for us. This series is a reminder that a picture of Jesus is not an illustration to an archaic story. He is our King, He is alive and well, ruling and reigning as you are reading this.
We have lived all over the United States in the last 19 years or so. I have seen a shift. This is really more of a letter to The Church. The American Church. When did your King become something you used to believe in like Santa Clause? I have seen more and more friends fall from the faith because they feel like they were duped. I've watched the church go "hipster" and actually spend an astronomical amount of money on creating a hipster space, instead of loving the congregation well and teaching them to love each other in spite of differences all the while holding people accountable to the word of God. I have also watched the more conservative church spend an enormous amount of money on a baptismal pool. I've watched the same churches fight like children launching degrading comments over twitter about each other's doctrine on the what the end will be like. Who will still be here and who won't . Another shift I am watching in the last few years is the obsession with self. Take care of yourself because no one else will. You deserve it.Then slap a Jesus slogan it. At the end of the day if we are giving everything to everyone else it is ultimately for us. We want to be liked, we want to be loved, we don't want to look like we don't have it all together, etc. I don't believe in the pauper syndrome by any means, unfortunately every country has their problems and satan knows how to work our culture problems or gifts against us. To dupe us into thinking we are kings and deserve the kingdom. It was the first lie in the garden and really he just gives it a new look every generation.
These questions beg to be answered.
Who is your king?
How do we look any different than the world?
I had a terrifying vision a few nights ago. Hundreds of people were perfectly lined up to go into the Gates of Heaven. A perfect straight line.
Every. Single. Person had their head down. Looking into their phone and if they weren't looking into their device they had it up and ready to get a selfie with the one true God. There were 2 responses when they finally got to the gate. One was apathetic. This person barely looked up from their phone. "oh hi, so can I go in now?" The other was "So I am so excited to see you!!! Hey so can I get a quick picture with you? No one is going to believe WHERE I am.." Did you catch that? Not who I'm with but where I am.
He is the most amazing Father I know. I meet with him every morning and he wants to meet with me. Church he wants you back. He wants all of you. He wants your mind, soul and spirit. He loves you. He died for you. He misses you.
Yes he is loving but only if you are his.Otherwise He says "Not everyone who says to me,'Lord,Lord.' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me 'Lord,Lord,did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' Matthew 7:21-23
This is not an archaic story. I feel as if we are preaching that Jesus is a great teacher, a God who does not judge by way of holiness, who only sends the real sinners to hell. We are not going to get to heaven and be able to say to Jesus " Is it really that big of a deal? I mean the whole dying to self thing? Really?" The apathetic, victim mentality.
On the other hand brag about our baptismal pool and the perfect temperature of the water, or the single origin coffee we served because it brought more people in."But Lord we were meeting the needs! We were making the church comfortable for the culture...of the city...we live in..."
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
We die once and then face judgement. Hebrews 9:27
Again the question begs to be answered...Is he your King?
It is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue confess to God."